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Ticks and Lyme's Disease

alansykes

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
A forum member recently got bitten by ticks and inquired about the danger of getting Lyme's Disease, a particularly debilitating largely incurable chronic illness not unlike glandular fever.

The disease is transmitted by ticks which attack deer, sheep, dogs, humans etc, often jumping onto bare legs from grass and bracken. It is endemic in Northern Spain and much of France (and the Scottish border where I live).

If you find a tick biting you, try to twist it off anti-clockwise, rather than just pulling it out (which risks leaving the mandibles, which carry the infection, in you). They like to gorge themselves full of your blood (carrying a sac which can be up to a cm long when full), so if they are attached to you, they're quite easy to spot (and kill).

If you catch them quickly enough, they are unlikely to infect you, but the NHS helpline advised me to take an antihistemine just in case (ask the farmacia for an antihistamínico). If the resulting bite mark looks much like a mosquito bite, there's nothing to worry about. If it looks like the "bullseye" of a target, then get yourself to a doctor as fast as possible.

I don't want to sound scare-mongering, but the shepherd on the next farm to mine got the disease a couple of years ago and he has had to take disability retirement and lost all his energy and general get up and go.
 
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Deleted member 36903

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Thank you for this Alan.
And today was the day! Living in the sheep country of South West Scotland I am used to removing these nasties from my cat but, after gardening this morning, I discovered that the new scab on my arm was in fact a tiny tick. My daughter removed it with one those magic plastic twisters bought from any vet for a couple of pounds. It is worth all pilgrims buying a packet (they come as a pair, small for the hard-to-see little blighters and large for the clearly visible and repulsive larger variety. Canadian pilgrims will know all about the dangers of tick bites but I also know of someone locally here who lost her good health through a tick bite. Please include a packet of tick removers in your first aid kit, they weigh less than a pair of tweezers and are more effective at removing the whole of the parasite without, as Alan rightly points out, leaving behind the bits that can lead to infection.
 
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Deleted member 36903

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Thank you for the link NualaOC but I was surprised to read that the information contained in the NHS guidance advises pulling the tick out with tweezers with no mention of what Alan described above, that is the need to slowly twist the tick rather than a straight pull. The NHS method runs the risk of leaving the head behind in the skin. The plastic removers have a slot that slides under the body of the tick enabling you to grip as you twist.
 
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jaws101

Member
My husband was retired from his job as a firefighter due to an unexplained illness which turned out to be Lyme Disease. After treatment he made a full recovery.

But not all ticks are infected. Remove them and keep a watch on the area. If a large, spreading rash appears then go to the doctor and insist on a test for Lyme Disease and get the antibiotics necessary.
 

jsalt

Jill
Year of past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
In pharmacies in Europe you can buy a small plastic tick remover, which works like tweezers, but it doesn’t snip the body off, as tweezers do, leaving the head inside. You grip the tick and carefully wriggle it out intact. I picked up some ticks on the Rota Vicentina. My fault, I was wearing long pants, rain pants and gaiters, but I went for a wizzie off track . . . . :oops: The tick remover is now an item in my 1st aid kit.
 

mla1

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (2000); St. Giles (2013); Le Puy-SJPP (2015); VDLP (2016); Mozárabe, Almeria to Granada (2018)
Canadian pilgrims will know all about the dangers of tick bites

Yes - unfortunately that is true. More and more you now see people out walking with their trousers tucked into their socks. We check ourselves and our pets carefully for ticks when we return home from walking. We now give our dogs anti-tick medicine for the entire year (instead of the half year that we used to) because the weather has been so unpredictable, the tick population is increasing, and last year the ticks persisted well into the winter. We pulled about a half a dozen ticks off one of our dogs on Christmas Day.

The main risk is when walking through, and rubbing against, long grass. If you find the tick within 24 hours, we are told, the risk of lyme disease (should the tick be carrying it) is greatly reduced. There has recently been talk of a free test that pharmacists can use to check to see if a tick does carry the infection. I'm not sure if it is available already or if it is something that is in the works.

In my area, southeastern Ontario, which is considered to be one of the worst in the country for lyme disease, the people who work outdoors clearing the brush under power lines are now allowed to stop working 15 minutes before the end of their shifts so that they will have time to check themselves for ticks.

From our perspective here - drawing attention to ticks and lyme disease is not scare-mongering at all - it is really important. Thanks, Alan for posting.

Mary Louise
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Not fear-mongering, Alan, but definitely words to the wise.
I've had Lyme disease twice--once a gift from an unknown tick in California (i actually got sick and had a bull's eye rash), and the second time in Massachusetts (just the rash and no illness that I could detect).
Catch and treat this disease early and it's no trouble at all. But you need to know you've been infected and that takes a bit of daily vigilance. The ticks that carry Lyme (in the US anyway) are tiny...not the big gross dog ticks. More sesame seed size. And the card works very well to take them off.
I've gotten smarter now where I know there's Lyme and check for ticks every day. Sorry to know it's in Spain too. Obviously we're not the only ones who travel by plane!
 
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Deleted member 36903

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Here is the packet and contents of the tick remover available from UK vets. It is manufactured in France and the instructions come in several languages so assume it is widely available outside UK> tick remover.jpg
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
After reading this thread, I think I shall spray the bottoms of my pantlegs when I am spraying my backpack and sleeping bag. Hopefully, ticks will not like permethrin.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
Having dealt with ticks for years growing up in the south and running around in the woods with my brother every summer, my best advice is prevention. Ticks live in high grass, brush, bushes, limbs etc waiting for a host. That's how you get them. You won't see them on an open country road paved with gravel. You won't see them crawling around in an albergue. Stay out of their habitat.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
Given the recent reported number of pilgrims in Camino Frances, I guess that ecologically we are like a kind of centipede steamroller, swatting everything in the way.
The only bugs I have seen (in March, before Zubiri) were the pine processionary. These caterpillars were "processing" almost everywhere through the woods in nose-to-tail columns. They have urticant hairs, but if we avoid walking with sandals, I suppose we are safe.
In other less traficked Caminos, and where the path is also a drovers' road (as in the Pyrinees Piedmont), I suppose the risk may be higher, but I did nor read or hear about ticks last year, when I walked it.
 
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grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Yes
Interesting and good information.

However....I do not recall anyone posting that there is a tick issue in Spain.
We have posts about almost everything, (good and bad) that happens along the way.
Bedbugs, flies, mosquitos, gnats, ants....but I don't remember ticks.

Maybe I have just missed it. Is it a problem? Are there reports of ticks?
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
I was that forum member mentioned in the op. I was making my way around the coast between Ribadeo and Ferrol. I was walking in wild places, totally off track, in waist high grass and fern, in shorts. I picked up two tiny visitors one day and removed them (with my finger nail) within a few hours. I have seen no follow up rash so am hoping all is well.

If anyone is interested in my week long 'off camino' adventure between Ribadeo on the Norte and Ferrol on the Ingles, check out this thread
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
Interesting and good information.

However....I do not recall anyone posting that there is a tick issue in Spain.
We have posts about almost everything, (good and bad) that happens along the way.
Bedbugs, flies, mosquitos, gnats, ants....but I don't remember ticks.

Maybe I have just missed it. Is it a problem? Are there reports of ticks?
I never saw any and never heard anyone mentioning them on the CF.
I say it is not an issue to be concerned about for the average walker of the CF, but like anything else on this forum it's a topic that's bound to be inflated needlessly.
Prospective walkers of the Camino Frances reading this....don't worry about ticks.
 

jacobusg

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances
2015 September
Camino Ingles
2016, June 6-12
If you search for ticks on here you will see the discussion about ticks on the CF. I acquired Lymes last September, and as far as I am concerned I am still suffering the effects, about to get another blood test after I get back from the Ingles.

A fellow p mentioned he'd brought a ticktool because of his experiences in Denmark - I didn't know what he was talking about, I do now.
 
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Vicky97

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances ('15), Norte (to Gijon, '16), Portuguese ('17),
Frances ('18), Belgium-Santiago ('19)
Also if you have had a tick it's wisely to draw a circle all around the place and if the redness and swelling is growing there is a big chance you have the Lyme's Disease
 

Stacychuck

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
Ticks, not only fitness is an issue. Just the excuse I need not to walk the Camino.
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I don't know if our Sydney variety of ticks is similar to the ones in Spain, but they are very common where I live. We have found the easiest method of removing them is to spray with Aerostart (used to get motors started) as it instantly kills and freezes them and they fall out. Lyclear, which is a cream used to treat scabbies, is also useful for tiny ticks. As a preventive in the bush we use Deet.
 

Stacychuck

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
I don't know if our Sydney variety of ticks is similar to the ones in Spain, but they are very common where I live. We have found the easiest method of removing them is to spray with Aerostart (used to get motors started) as it instantly kills and freezes them and they fall out. Lyclear, which is a cream used to treat scabbies, is also useful for tiny ticks. As a preventive in the bush we use Deet.
You Aussies are tough. What does that Aerostart do to your body? I remember that getting sprayed with Agent Orange which wasn't a good a idea. Good luck with that extermination project. We have plenty of ticks and deer here in MD.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Year of past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
If you catch them quickly enough, they are unlikely to infect you, but the NHS helpline advised me to take an antihistemine just in case

That NHS advice doesn't make any sense at all! An antihistamine is a medicament to alleviate allergies, it is not a prevention against an infection with Lyme or similar. Buen Camino, SY
 
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nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
And for those of us pilgrims walking outside of Spain in Austria, Germany and places further east one should be inoculated against Tick Bourne Encephalitis TBE before walking. As TBC serum is a slightly unusual request in Ireland (or the UK?) it may take a few days for the pharmacist to get it in and you need a couple of shots not just one so give yourself time. It's well worth it though the son of a friend of mine worked as a forester in Franconia as a young man and got TBE and was very poorly indeed. He's fine now thank God but is evangelical about preventative measures and inoculation.
 

psychoticparrot

psychoticparrot
Year of past OR future Camino
April, May (2017)
Did you know ticks can be romantic? o_O

Lyrics from country song "Ticks" by Brad Paisley:

'Cause I'd like to see you out in the moonlight
I'd like to kiss you way back in the sticks
I'd like to walk you through a field of wildflowers
And I'd like to check you for ticks."
 

MinaKamina

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Jacobspad 2017
That NHS advice doesn't make any sense at all! An antihistamine is a medicament to alleviate allergies, it is not a prevention against an infection with Lyme or similar. Buen Camino, SY

Agree! this is absurd advice. If only Lyme disease were so easy ...
To prevent tick bites: stay out of the bushes and high grass. Wear protective clothing. Spray with DEET. If you find you have been bitten by a tick and do not know how long it has been there: go see a doctor. A red rash does not always appear in case of Lyme, and the 24 hour limit for removing a tick is not supported by science.

Ticks maps of Europe published by the European Centre for Disease Control:
http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/healthtopics/vectors/vector-maps/Pages/VBORNET-maps-tick-species.aspx

Dermacentor reticulatus and Ixodes Ricinus may transmit Lyme disease, babesia and anaplasmosis. Not all ticka are infected, this may vary per (small) area.

A word of caution to all solo pilgrims: in tick infested areas please use the bathroom and not the bushes, because who will inspect your private parts for possible tick bites?
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
And for those of us pilgrims walking outside of Spain in Austria, Germany and places further east one should be inoculated against Tick Bourne Encephalitis TBE before walking. As TBC serum is a slightly unusual request in Ireland (or the UK?) it may take a few days for the pharmacist to get it in and you need a couple of shots not just one so give yourself time.

Has to be ordered in the UK and costs something £200 a shot (from memory...) I decided against it and the nurse agreed, telling me the best prevention was NOT to get bitten haha. I was ever so careful (long clothing) and avoiding long grass at all cost. I was only told it was a problem once in Eastern countries like Bulgaria... Didn't know you could get it closer to home:eek:
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
I have just made a doctor's appointment here in Spain to be on the safe side. Will give feedback on what I am advised.

I would reiterate that I was walking very much off Camino at the northern most tip of Spain, rather foolishly in shorts through long grass.

I did also pick up a tick when walking the Camino Portuguese, but again when walking through long grass to reach a great looking picnic spot. That time I was wearing long pants and removed myself from the area double quick.

The phrase 'some people never learn' comes to mind!
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
Maybe you could use a selfie stick to take photos for examination! :p:p
@C clearly:
I once picked up a number of ticks while vacationing on Long Island, in an area since known for Lyme Disease. I discovered while bathing that evening that ticks will abandon bodily areas which are underwater. Apparently, they need to breathe. If you should happen to have access to a bath after encountering ticks, fill it with water and have a soak. You may see them abandoning private areas which you would much rather not have tick infested.
 
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Magwood

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
On the subject of ticks, but thankfully not attached to me, I noticed that my cat was hosting an unwanted visitor. I don't have a purpose-built tick remover so used tweezers. My normally very assertive moggie kept absolutely still whilst I performed the operation with a twist and a pull. I immediately jettisoned my spoils in a glass of water and was amazed to see two of them doing the breast stroke. Two removed where I thought there was only one and with all legs in place - result!
image.jpeg
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
Completely off topic, but I have to say/ask:

Excellent photo! What camera/lens did you use?

Buen Camino without ticks, SY

Panasonic lumix tz60. Not the most recent model, but the cheapest for the spec. Used in macro zoom mode.
 

Daxzentzu

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
FRANCES (2018) in planning
The tried and tested way that I know is to put a blob of Vaseline (petroleum jelly) on the blighter. It denies it oxygen
It will let go without a mark after a few hours
Never brush them off you may leave the "mouth parts" in your skin - pretty strong likelihood of secondary infection
 
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StephenChad

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Norte 2014
CF 2017
Le Puy to Moissac 2018
I was bitten this year by a tick carrying rickettsia on the GR11 three days east of Roncesvalles. The village doctor said there had been other cases this year but none in previous years. She prescribed antibiotics which were effective but they need to be taken asap. Subsequent blood tests showed there had been a rickettsia infection. Do please take tick bites very seriously, carry a tick removal tool and seek medical attention.
 

Felice

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
I never saw any and never heard anyone mentioning them on the CF.
I say it is not an issue to be concerned about for the average walker of the CF, but like anything else on this forum it's a topic that's bound to be inflated needlessly.
Prospective walkers of the Camino Frances reading this....don't worry about ticks.

Agree entirely about not worrying about ticks. Walking along the CF you are unlikely to come across them.

BUT forewarned is forearmed. Until relatively recently in the UK, most people, and also many doctors, knew nothing about ticks and Lymes disease. Had they been knowledgeable, quite a lot of misery would have been avoided. There's been a steady stream of information coming out in the papers after some people who had caught Lymes disease got the press to highlight the issue because it had taken years for them to be diagnosed, so great was the ignorance.

So read the advice, be prepared, and don't worry. You'll know what to do if you or someone you know picks up a tick. As my daughter did last week in Wales during a climbing holiday.
 

Via2010

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
The tried and tested way that I know is to put a blob of Vaseline (petroleum jelly) on the blighter. It denies it oxygen
It will let go without a mark after a few hours
Never brush them off you may leave the "mouth parts" in your skin - pretty strong likelihood of secondary infection

This is the worst advice you could give!

In Germany they warn us, not to remove ticks by putting oil, Vaseline or glue on them, because before they will die of suffocation they will vomit and thus bring all the bacteria they carry in their stomach into your body.

Just pull them out slowly by using a tick-card or a twizzer. Doing it clockwise or the other way round is also complete nonsense. A doctor in our Hospital thought he should teach me how to remove ticks and said I should do it clockwise and never try it on my own. This was the only occasion when the head of the tick got stuck in my skin. I have got a lot of experience in that thing because my 4 cats collect them regularily and sometimes they switch on me.

According to statistics, only up to 30% of the ticks in Germany carry lyme-disease. And of those Maximum 10% infect people by their bites. Nevertheless remove a tick as soon as possible and see a doctor if red circles develop around the place of the bite. Back home, to be sure, have a test when you had been bitten on your camino because not all infections develop red circles.

BC
Alexandra
 

Felice

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
@Felice, you read comments from 2016 but not the ones from 2018 ;). See just one example below (even if you don't speak Spanish I'm sure you can make out the words salud (health), garrapatas (ticks), Castilla y Leon and los peregrinos del Camino de Santiago en particular). Or read the report of the poster immediately before your own comment! Ok about not to worry but they are there this summer.

Salamanca 24h | 21/07/2018 - 12:00h.

Agustín Álvarez, el director general de Salud Pública de la Junta de Castilla y León ha reconocido que esta temporada hay muchas garrapatas debido a las lluvias de los últimos meses y los bruscos cambios de temperatura.

De esta manera, ha señalado ciertas medidas de precaución de cara a andar por el campo y ha mencionado a los peregrinos del Camino de Santiago, en particular. Principalmente, recomienda usar calcetines blancos y altos, y manga larga en camisetas. Además, revisar el cuerpo al finalizar de la jornada. Aparte de eso, es necesario el cuidado en mascotas a través de repelentes y antiparasitarios.

Katharina, thanks for that post.

I was actually trying to balance out the post I quoted from, which came over to me as a bit too laid back about the danger of ticks. There's no point in worrying about ticks (or bedbugs for that matter) - or you'd never walk a camino. You need to take them seriously, and to be aware and knowledgeable about ticks, and what to do if bitten.

In fact, thinking about that post again, there is everything to be said for 'inflating' the topic - to really get the word out there on the trail. It's only get to get worse so the more people who know about the dangers of ticks, and what to do, the better.
 
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Natascha11

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Hello to all going in to nature please take ticks and Lyme extremely seriously I was bitten 10 years ago I now have chronic Lyme it has destroyed my life please visit lymedisease.co uk or Lyme disease.org for information the tick removal tool is best at removing ticks u must use insecticide and spray on ur clothes ticks carry a variety of diseases not just Lyme and can destroy ur life if early treatment ignored if u have a bullseye rash ur infected with Lyme and need to get antibiotics 4 -6 weeks of treatment not all get a rash so ur lucky if u do as this is a definite for treatment I have suffered beyond belief may is Lyme disease awareness month some info on here by people about the disease is incorrect Lyme is a serious disease without early intervention I was a super fit dancer runner very athletic I have been in and out of hospital I cannot work late stage Lyme is not recognised due to poor testing I have been in a wheel chair parylised seizures flu like symptoms every day for 10 years severe exhaustion crippling pain I can get treatment abroad by knowledge Lyme literate docs I have had multiple diagnosis by nhs uk everything apart from Lyme I was diagnosed and tested in Germany to get answers after 6 years of hospitalisations surgery’s I have only listed a few symptoms but some die from Lyme carditis please get aware do research I wanted to do Camino but not sure it’s possible as I need money to treat and just now live with my disease without acknowledgement support help m love don’t risk ur future by lack of awareness xxx
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I’ve had a ‘tick card’ as described, it was useless. The ‘O Tom’ hook shaped devices are far more effective.

Henry the (actual) dog is a tick magnet as we live in deer and sheep country. I’m well practiced in their removal from an uncooperative hound as well as myself.

I carry an initial dose of doxycycline in my first aid kit in case the dreaded ‘bullseye rash’ appears which can be associated with lyme’s disease
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
This is an old thread, but with a very timely warning. I had many ticks on my first Olvidado in 2014, but have luckily escaped since then. Someone on this forum, sorry I can’t remember who, recommended the “tick key.” I have used it several times on the camino with pilgrims who had ticks, and it works beautifully.

When I looked it up on Amazon, I saw that it is now priced at $7.35 for one tick key. There was a link to my earlier order on the site, so I clicked out of curiosity and saw that two years ago I had ordered a set of three for the same price. I should have bought a batch, since I have given one away and lost one!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
This is an old thread, but with a very timely warning. I had many ticks on my first Olvidado in 2014, but have luckily escaped since then. Someone on this forum, sorry I can’t remember who, recommended the “tick key.” I have used it several times on the camino with pilgrims who had ticks, and it works beautifully.

When I looked it up on Amazon, I saw that it is now priced at $7.35 for one tick key. There was a link to my earlier order on the site, so I clicked out of curiosity and saw that two years ago I had ordered a set of three for the same price. I should have bought a batch, since I have given one away and lost one!

ULTIMATE survival gear has 3 tick removers in a kit which you canbuy on Amazon for $6.OO. We have them.

Here is the description
  • Sturdy aluminum construction will not bend, rust, crack, or break
  • Includes a ruler (inches and centimeters) to help identify the type of tick. Knowing the type of tick will help determine if there is a risk of Lyme Disease or other types of infection
  • Small size fits in your first aid kit and easily attaches to gear with the included carabiner

BTW the picture looks correct on amazon..
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2019
On the Vasco; there were plenty of places that looked like this...in this case, complete with a deer vector! On the Frances you won't be walking through tall grass like this - unless you get lost, go off piste...or duck behind a tree to pee. So if any of those things happen do check yourself carefully!
IMG_1207 (2).JPG
Later that same day I picked up a tick; since I've had lyme disease twice, I freaked out a bit - but fortunately found it probably within minutes of picking it up. But you can bet I did a systematic and thorough check once a day after that.

two years ago I had ordered a set of three for the same price.
in 2019 I got the same 3-pack of tick keys from REI, for a very reasonable price (I can't remember exactly but it was less than 10$). They've discontinued them but sell them something similar for $6.50.
 

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witsendwv

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2015)
After reading this thread, I think I shall spray the bottoms of my pantlegs when I am spraying my backpack and sleeping bag. Hopefully, ticks will not like permethrin.
More than likely you need to spray your entire body. In the summer here before mowing my husband sprays me head to toe. I tuck my pantlegs inside soccer "futbol" socks and I will still find them, especially around the waistband of my pants. I can't figure how they get there but they do. Even if we are just walking outside in the garden we do "tick checks" when we come in the house for the evening. So far this year we are not seeing many, but that is probably because this is the coldest/wettest April and May that we have had in years. We are now awaiting another batch of 17 year cicadas to emerge, and hopefully they will take care of the ticks!
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
Upon combing out my braided hair after a mountain hike in the Rockies several years ago, I discovered a bloated brown tick, which fell off my skull somewhere above the hairline at the back of my neck. I immediately went to an all-night clinic, carrying the still-squirming body of the tick in a medicine container. I was aware that, in Alberta, "dog ticks" may carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, while "black-legged ticks" may carry Lyme disease. But I was not familiar with either species, not was the doctor at the clinic. She carried the tick, in its container, away to do research. When she returned, she told me that it was a "dog tick" and that a small percentage of them carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. If I got a fever I should return to get a prescription for an antibiotic. I am not familiar with the types of ticks which might be picked up by walkers in Spain or what diseases they might carry. I think that I would visit a clinic to find this out if I picked up any while on pilgrimage, preferably with the tick safely carried in a small container.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
When she returned, she told me that it was a "dog tick" and that a small percentage of them carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. If I got a fever I should return to get a prescription for an antibiotic. I am not familiar with the types of ticks which might be picked up by walkers in Spain or what diseases they might carry. I think that I would visit a clinic to find this out if I picked up any while on pilgrimage, preferably with the tick safely carried in a small container.
I have had several ticks on caminos, and had a hard time getting one out of my back on the Olvidado in Cistierna. The receptionist in the Hotel Moderno said she did it frequently, and after she pulled it out, she said I should see a doctor just for a check. A few days later when I was in La Robla, I went to the local clinic. The doctor examined me and said it looked like the whole tick had been removed. She told me that Lyme’s disease is not very widespread in Spain but it does exist. She gave me a prescription and told me to walk with an antibiotic and take it at the first sign of fever. I never got the fever but was very much reassured to have the antibiotic in my pack.
 

witsendwv

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2015)
Upon combing out my braided hair after a mountain hike in the Rockies several years ago, I discovered a bloated brown tick, which fell off my skull somewhere above the hairline at the back of my neck. I immediately went to an all-night clinic, carrying the still-squirming body of the tick in a medicine container. I was aware that, in Alberta, "dog ticks" may carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, while "black-legged ticks" may carry Lyme disease. But I was not familiar with either species, not was the doctor at the clinic. She carried the tick, in its container, away to do research. When she returned, she told me that it was a "dog tick" and that a small percentage of them carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. If I got a fever I should return to get a prescription for an antibiotic. I am not familiar with the types of ticks which might be picked up by walkers in Spain or what diseases they might carry. I think that I would visit a clinic to find this out if I picked up any while on pilgrimage, preferably with the tick safely carried in a small container.
Deer ticks=Lyme Disease. Dog ticks= Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Despite the name it does not occur only in the the Rocky Mountains. A friend of ours here in WV almost died from RMSF, only here now because his doctor recognized the symptoms. You can never be too careful with tick checks every day. Even if you are not outside a lot in a particular day, always check.
 
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witsendwv

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2015)
I have had several ticks on caminos, and had a hard time getting one out of my back on the Olvidado in Cistierna. The receptionist in the Hotel Moderno said she did it frequently, and after she pulled it out, she said I should see a doctor just for a check. A few days later when I was in La Robla, I went to the local clinic. The doctor examined me and said it looked like the whole tick had been removed. She told me that Lyme’s disease is not very widespread in Spain but it does exist. She gave me a prescription and told me to walk with an antibiotic and take it at the first sign of fever. I never got the fever but was very much reassured to have the antibiotic in my pack.
Unfortunately a fever can occur up to 30 days after the tick bite, many people do not have any symptoms, and many physicians miss the diagnosis. I worked in an infectious disease research laboratory for years growing the causal spirochete in 5L flasks. Shortly after we moved to WV my husband woke up one morning with "sausage" fingers. (A common but overlooked symptom.) I told him he had Lyme Disease, but since I was not the physician (he knew better) there must have been another reason. I just arranged with my former boss to have have him and my two stepsons tested as they had been spending a lot of time in the woods. Turned out they had the first two recorded cases in our state. They were on antibiotics for weeks. Pay attention to any tick attachment on your skin. Lyme Disease for the most part can be managed/cured even if caught later, but as Albertagirl said there is always the possibility of RMSP and that is most dangerous.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Unfortunately, if ticks are plentiful and it is windy, a gust can blow them right on you if the little buggers are near by. You do not have to be in the middle of green brush or grass to get them.
 

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